Vettel finished third on Sunday at the Hungaroring behind Lewis Hamilton - a winner for the first time with new team Mercedes - and Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen.
With Ferrari's Fernando Alonso only fifth, Vettel actually managed to marginally extend his lead in the standings, with Raikkonen now his nearest challenger 38 points adrift going into the summer break.
Vettel knows, however, it could have been so much more but for what appeared to be tactical errors by Red Bull as he twice came out behind the McLaren of Jenson Button after his first two pit stops.
On the first occasion, whereas Hamilton managed to pass Button after only a lap, Vettel took 12 to complete his manoeuvre, primarily as he damaged his front wing in making one failed early attempt to pass.
It was that lengthy stint behind Button that ultimately cost Vettel at least second place, and potentially a crack at Hamilton for the win.
"Usually in the past it was not a bad thing when you came out behind a McLaren, but this year's a bit different," the German said.
"I'm not blaming the team. It's pretty easy to see what happened.
"In the first stint I lost more time on the way to the pits because the tyres were falling apart more than the team expected - probably around 1.5 seconds.
"If you take that away then I would have come out ahead of him, so in terms of strategy they made the right call.
"Second time around he was on a very used set of soft tyres which were going away quickly, and I found my way past pretty quick as well.
"So I'm not blaming them. If there's anyone to blame then it's me because I damaged my wing, which wasn't the best thing."
Overall, though, Vettel was content with third place and a slight extension of his cushion to his rivals, with Alonso 39 points down and Hamilton 48 behind.
"I'm not entirely happy with my race because the car was probably a little better than where we finished," Vettel added.
"But with the race that I had, P3 is what we have to be happy with. It's not a disaster.
"We were still on the podium, which is nice, so we have to keep our feet on the ground.
"I've always said there will be days when there will be people ahead of us and days when we will be ahead of them, so it's just life."
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